Ask the Rabbi
News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Those who play down the dangers of the Internet, either are not aware of the extent of the problem, or else they simply don't care about fellow Jews. Here's an example of what I've been talking about, along with my response. Maybe you have other advise you can add to help save him and thousands of others from drowning.
I am desperate and don’t know what to do. I can’t stop watching porn on the Internet and masturbating. Sometimes it’s the first thing I do in the morning before going off to school. After school, I hurry back to my house for more. My parents work so no one bothers me. Anyway I have my own room. It’s the same thing at night. I’m on the net for hours. I don’t have friends anymore. When I pray in synagogue, I just mouth the words. The only break I have is on Sabbath when I can’t use the computer. I walk around feeling like a criminal, knowing I have something terrible that I am hiding from everyone. After my bouts of forbidden pleasure, I feel dirty and super depressed. Sometimes I have thoughts about killing myself and putting an end to everything.
The fact that you have a guilty conscience is a very healthy sign. It shows that your spiritual powers are still working. They are strong enough to pull you out of your depression and addiction, but you have to work on them, to strengthen them even more. Whatever you can do in this regard, by praying to G-d for assistance, by learning Torah, by reciting the Tikun HaClalli, or Tikun Yeshuat Eliahu, by going to the mikvah as often as you can, and by following the other advice offered in many places on the jewishsexuality.com website.
Also, the fact that you still keep the Sabbath shows that your connection to Torah is still intact. With some real effort on your part, you can build it into a burning flame for G-d, instead of your for misguided passions. In addition, you can harness the same will power you use to keep off the net on the Sabbath, to help you keep clean all the days of the week. Remember, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” With G-d’s help, you have the inner power. Work on it!
You should know that you are not some kind of evil monster. The sexual urge is a natural thing. G-d created it so that people would get married and have children. When the time comes for you to get married, you will have a healthy and holy way to channel your sexual energy. So don’t get down on yourself. Everyone has hormones, and everyone falls down in this area. Don’t let your despair overwhelm you, and don’t panic. Thousands of people, young and old alike, have had your problem, and they have found the inner will and power to stop.
It is true that watching forbidden sites on the Internet and masturbation are serious transgressions, but, once again, getting overly down on yourself is self-destructive. Everyone has weaknesses and commits transgressions. Some people speak lashon hara (speaking bad about others) habitually; some people neglect to pray regularly; others aren’t careful to eat only kosher food. We are here on earth to improve ourselves in line with the teachings of the Torah. It’s a lifelong project. Like on a roller coaster, there are ups and downs. Just remember that every down has an end, and that your upswing is just around the corner.
Our Sages teach that a person cannot free himself from prison. You are a prisoner of sorts, and you need help to break free from the urges you have become enslaved to. Help can come from a friend, a teacher, a rabbi, a counselor, one’s father or older brother. Try sharing your secret with someone. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. I am sure you will find an understanding ear. Two people working together are a lot stronger than one.
There are some practical steps you can take starting now. Schools all over the world are encouraging parents to install filters on their home computers. There’s an old adage that says, “out of sight, out of mind.” Tell your parents that you would like them to download a filter like other families are doing. It is also smart to get the computer out of your room. Put it in some central place where others can see you. Also stop coming home right after school. Do things with friends. Join a sports team. Take part in all kinds of extra-curriculum activities. Maybe even find yourself a part time job. Too much free time is a danger for anyone.
Of course, it is best to treat the underlining problem as well. Usually, an addiction stems from a feeling of emptiness inside. A person feels he is lacking something and seeks to fill up the void with his addiction, whether it be through gambling, alcoholism, or pornography. It could be that a person doesn’t feel loved, or that he feels distant from G-d, or that he lacks a positive image of himself. When a person discovers the inner root of his compulsion, he can begin to fill up the emptiness with positive solutions, like renewing one’s connection with parents, loved ones, and strengthening one’s connection to G-d.
Finally, don’t look at yourself as a sinner, or as a social reject, or failure. See yourself as a holy warrior engaged in a battle with the forces of evil. By overcoming them, you will not only liberate yourself, you will bring great blessing to the Jewish People, and to all off the world.
Feel free to write to us personally via the contact page of the js website. If you would like to speak to one of us at jewishsexuality.com by telephone, leave your number, or we can send you ours. Hatzlachah!
For people who are thinking about entering the short story contest, but don’t know how to get started, here’s a sample short story:
Once upon a time, there was a Jew who lived in Australia. He had a nice house, a nice car, a Jewish wife, and Jewish children whom he sent to Jewish schools. He observed the Sabbath, kept kosher, and gave charity on a regular basis. Nearly every day, he clicked onto INN News to see what was happening in Israel. He enjoyed the good life and was grateful to G-d for all the bounty that He had given him.
After his 120 years on earth, when it came time for his soul to rise up to Heaven, he was ready. After all, he had been a good Jew all his life. But when he reached the glowing portals of Gan Eden, the entrance was locked. A Guard stood at the gate, blocking the way.
“Open up,” the Australian Jews demanded.
“Sorry mate,” the Guard answered.
“What do you mean?” the Jew replied dumbfounded. “If anyone deserves to be here, it’s me!”
“Sorry, but you’ve been assigned to another section.”
“Another section? What do you mean?” the Jew wanted to know.
“Follow me, bloke,” the Guard said. “I’ll show you.”
After a short walk, they came to a magnificent pond filled with beautiful swans.
“What are those swans doing here?” the Jew from Down Under asked.
“Those are Torah scholars who didn’t learn Kabbalah,” the Guard nonchalantly answered, moving along down the path. Soon they came to a jungle-like enclave filled with lions.
“What are those lions?” the Jews inquired.
“Those are Jews who didn’t eat kosher meat,” the Guard informed him.
The Jew from Australia was speechless. Could it really be, he thought?
Another short walk away was a field filled with dogs.
“These are Jews who slept with shicksas,” the Guard told him, even before he asked.
“Oy vay,” the Jew groaned. “How long do they have to be here like this?”
“Only a few thousand years,” the Guard answered.
Next was a large aviary filled with wide-eyed owls.
"These are people who looked at forbidden sites on the Internet," the Guard related.
“I’ve seen enough,” the Jew told him.
“Up here you need patience,” the Guard answered. “Here’s where you’re going to be.”
Spreading out before them was a vast wilderness outback populated with kangaroos.
“No,” the Jew pleaded. “Please, not that.”
“That’s your sentence, mate.”
“But why? I was a good Jew. I kept kosher. My wife’s Jewish. I sent my kids to Jewish schools.”
“In Israel?” the Guard asked.
"You answered your own question," the Guard said.
“But what great sin did I do?”
“You despised the cherished Land.”
“But I love Israel!” the Jew insisted.
“Tell it to the Judge,” the Guard replied, walking away. “You preferred living in the land of the kangaroos while you were alive, so now you are being rewarded with another few thousand years as a kangaroo.”
Without further ado, the Guard raised his hand, and POOF, the good Jew from Australia turned into a kangaroo.
“But no one warned me!” the kangaroo protested.
“Fishman warned you,” the Guard answered. “It’s all been recorded. I can show you your talkbacks if you like. Up here, everyone gets exactly what they deserve. Enjoy your reward, mate."
"What am I supposed to do for such a long time?" the kangaroo cried out.
The Guard shrugged. It wasn't his problem. "To pass the time," he called back to the kangerjew, "Learn how to rock on your tail.”
Sorry guys for having to repeat things, but a lot of you don’t seem to get it. And it really isn’t me – it’s the Torah. In this week’s Torah portion, when Avraham sends his servant, Eliezer, off to find a wife for Yitzhak, he has Eliezer swear an oath by placing his hand under Avraham’s “thigh.” The word “thigh” is a euphemism for the place of Avraham’s brit milah. Doesn’t this seem a little weird? Not when you understand that the place of the brit is holy. In fact, it is so holy, it’s like swearing on a Bible. And woe to anyone who misuses it through any kind of sexual transgression.
Next Avraham makes Eliezer promise not to take Yitzhak out of the Land of Israel. Why is this? Because Hashem wants the Jewish People to be in Israel. Any kid in grade school could figure this out from the text. Hashem gave the Jewish People their own Land, and He wants us to live there. To be the Jewish People, we have to live in the Jewish Land. It’s simple, straightforward, obvious to everyone.
Well, to almost everyone. For instance, there are a lot of readers of this blog who don’t seem to catch the point. They have dozens of excuses for evading the simple truth that every child understands, but the fact, as stated over and over again in the Torah, in all sorts of different ways, is that Hashem wants the Jewish People to live here in Israel, and not in America, England, or Australia.
What I can’t figure out is - now that Israel is back in our hands, why don’t these Jews rush to come home? Maybe some child can tell me.
It is truly a sad and shameful disgrace that there are government leaders in Israel, judges, and law enforcement personal, jokes for Jews, who are prepared to evict brothers and sisters from the Shalom House in Hevron. Truly, they are possessed by some horrible inner self-hatred that brings them to war against fellow Jews and the Torah.
As others have written, if Avraham Avinu himself could come before them today with the deed of purchase of Hevron, these Jewish jokers would deny its validity.
But there is something even more frightening. There are Jews who, if they had been around at the time of Avraham, they would have demonstrated against his purchasing a burial plot in Hevron in the first place. They would have pleaded with the Hittite not to sell Avraham the property at all.
“Bury your wife in Vienna, Virginia instead!” they would have demanded.
“Let him bury her in Sidney, Australia!” others would have clamored.
“I sell you a burial place for half the price,” another would have promised Avraham, “If you bury her in Brooklyn, New York.”
The Jewish jokers in Israel, no matter how screwed up they may be, are willing to die for Haifa, Beer Sheva, Tiberias, or Tel Aviv. How many Diaspora Jews can say that?
Thus, the questions remains: who are the real Jewish jokers?
For readers who might not have seen this INN news item, you are all invited to send in entries. Who knows? Maybe one of your fantasy scenarios might win.
(IsraelNN.com) If you are one of the many would-be writers who have unpublished short stories stashed away in their drawers, this may be your chance. In an effort to encourage creative Jewish writing, Jerusalem Israel Publications has announced a short-story writing contest which is offering attractive cash prizes sponsored by the Irving Moskowitz Foundation of Miami Beach, Florida.
The company’s director, Yisrael Goldberg, says that everyone talks about the need to inject true Torah values into the cultural arts in Israel, and he hopes that the contest will stimulate talented people to take their Jewish creativity out of the closet.
At the request of the Moskowitz family, the contest has a special category for young writers, to let their voices be heard. Participants are being asked to center their stories around one of three themes: the settlement of the Land of Israel acts of kindness or highway safety.
Stories should be at least six pages in length, and the deadline for submission is Chanukah.
The contest accompanies the Jerusalem Israel Publications release of Tzvi Fishman’s new Hebrew book, “Creative Jewish Writing,” a how-to-manual that covers all aspects of creative writing from an unabashed Jewish perspective.
Tzvi Fishman has published several popular Jewish novels, and taught screenwriting at New York University before immigrating to Israel. He was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture. According to Fishman, the world didn’t learn the art of drama and storytelling from the Greeks as textbooks maintain. “All of the ingredients for dramatic storytelling were already in the Bible long before the Greeks appeared on the map,” he claims.
Explaining the importance of the short-story contest, Yisrael Goldberg says: “Whenever there’s talk of a peace agreement, the Israeli media rushes to interview their pet leftist novelists, as if they are the paragons of social justice and morality. Why don’t they interview writers like Tzvi Fishman instead? Hasn’t he written enough novels and movies? To make our voice heard, we have to promote writers with a religious and Zionist worldview. I hope the contest will stimulate that.”
Regarding the contest sponsors Fishman said, “When I visited Dr. Moskowitz and his family in Florida,” he recalls, “I was blown away by their home library. Bookcase after bookcase testify to their passionate commitment to the Land of Israel, Zionism, Jewish History, and Torah, and to quality literature as well.”
Three case prizes will be awarded to each of two age categories: 1) up to age 25 and 2) 25 and older.
The prizes are: First prize - 3000 NIS, Second prize - 2000 NIS and Third prize - 1000 NIS.
Story submissions in English or Hebrew can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, e-mail address, and age.